28 He has come to Aiath, he has passed through Migron; at Micmash he deposited his baggage. 29 They crossed over a pass; Geba, a place of overnight lodging for us. Ramah trembles; Saul’s Gibeah has run away. 30 Daughter of Gallim, project your voice; Laishah, listen! Answer her, Anathoth! 31 Madmenah flees! The inhabitants of Gebim take themselves to safety! 32 Yet today standing at Nob, he will shake his fist at the mountain of the house of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. 33 See! The Lord Yahveh of armies is about to lop off a branch with great power, and the self-importance of the height will be felled, and the height will be brought low. 34 And he will cut down the grove of the forest with the ax, and Lebanon will fall with a mighty fall.
fist shaking at the mountain
I can imagine the inhabitants of Judah standing around their laptops (I did say imagine) and watching the news as each day another northern city falls under the onslaught of the Assyrian Reich, attacking from the north. But then something amazing happens. That terrifying king who would stop at nothing to own the world would be stopped in his tracks. He will stand there at Nob, furious that he can go no further toward his goal. He will shake his fist at his prize, which he would not be able to claim, and that prize is Jerusalem. His armies will be stopped by Yahveh of armies.
This story of failed invasion is Isaiah’s way of saying that even God has his limits. God is limited by his compassion, and by his promises. He will not allow his people to be utterly destroyed. He has a plan to bless them with that Immanuel, son of the virgin.
Isaiah’s audience is a nation of sinners, who must face the consequences of their rebellion, so he preaches judgment. But they are also a nation that God has promised to be a portal of blessing through the ministry of the Messiah. That future is sure, regardless of whether Judah responds to Isaiah’s preaching or not.
God may have a plan to bless you and give you a future, and you may experience that. But do not allow that blessing to lure you into thinking that God has overlooked your sin. Remember that Assyria thought they were unstoppable, but God stopped them. And, like Judah, you may be experiencing blessing because of God’s promise to someone else. Eternal life is only promised to those who have repented of their sin and put their faith in Christ.
LORD, as we enjoy your blessings, may we be careful not to presume that these blessings are signs of your eternal favor. Christ is your promise. Teach us to focus our faith on him.